To: Colorado WIC-Authorized Grocers
From: Retailer Unit, Colorado WIC Program
Subjects: Peer Group Assignment and New Shelf Price List Form
Date: February 28, 2014
Federal regulations (7 CFR Part 246) require State WIC agencies to implement a vendor peer group system (i.e., grouping like stores together), competitive price criteria, and allowable reimbursement levels to ensure that the WIC Program pays authorized vendors competitive prices. These systems are routinely evaluated to identify ways to streamline them and improve efficiency and customer service.
A recent evaluation resulted in several enhancements.
• Shelf Price List:
A new—easier-to-use—shelf price list has been developed. Please begin using the new form with your next submission. The form is available on the website: www.Coloradowic.com
under the retailer
tab. After April 1, older versions of the form will not be accepted.
• Peer Groups: Several retailers have been re-assigned to a new peer group level. Store location(s) peer group designations were recently provided to the holders of WIC agreement.
Details on using the new shelf price list form and the peer group structure are below. If you have questions, please contact Cheryl Cassell at (303) 692-2454 or Becca Polk at (303) 692-2448.
Thank you for your assistance and your continuing support of the WIC Program. As always, grocers are an important part of our food delivery system and we value your participation.
Tips for using the new Shelf Price List
- Six Months: The federal regulations require WIC programs to receive shelf price lists at least every six months from retailers. The next round of required submissions is due this spring. We’ll send reminders out sometime in April. However, we accept your shelf price lists year round.
- Accuracy: As shelf prices change—it is to a store’s advantage to submit a new shelf price list. The amount that WIC reimburses your store for WIC items purchased is based on the prices submitted by retailers on the shelf price lists. Please complete as thoroughly as possible so there is WIC check success.
- Highest Allowed: Please enter the HIGHEST cost WIC ALLOWED item that your store stocks within each category. For example for the peanut butter: enter the price for the most expensive WIC-allowed peanut butter that your store carries in stock for sale.
- Allowable Foods List: Use the foods list to correctly identify WIC allowed items.
- Name and Size: Certain items on the form do require additional information. These cells are highlighted. Specifically, when you enter a price for cereal, the brand name and number of ounces should be added; when you enter a price for cereal, bread, salmon/sardines or tortillas, the number of ounces should be added.
- Brand Names Optional: Providing the brand names for areas not highlighted is optional. (Other than cereal, writing the brand names of items—while helpful to us—is not necessary.)
- Back Page: Page 2 lists optional formula items; provide prices for any of the items that your store does stock. If your store does not stock an item, simply leave the price for that formula item blank.
- Effective: Please begin using the new price list immediately. The older version of the form/ spreadsheet will not be accepted after April 1, 2014.
- New Version: Replace the Shelf Price List in your store’s WIC Binder with this new version.
- Format: The Shelf Price List can be sent electronically via excel spreadsheet or via a hard copy.
- Website: The current version of the form is also available on the website—Coloradowic.com—under the retailer tab.
- Sign and Date: Please include your store name and number, contact information and the date.
Colorado WIC Peer Group Criteria and Assignment Criteria & Method
A vendor is assigned a peer group based on criteria developed by Colorado WIC that classifies the type (i.e., supermarket, small to medium grocery, supercenter, pharmacy, commissary, farmer), the geographic area (i.e., metropolitan, rural, resort area), and, in order to incorporate consideration of the vendor’s supply and distribution infrastructure, the number of WIC-authorized stores owned and operated in Colorado (i.e., Minor= <30 or Major= ≥30). The State agency may change a vendor's peer group whenever it determines that placement in an alternate peer group is warranted. The State agency must use these criteria to evaluate retailer prices and retailer authorization. Shelf prices must be found at application and remain to be found competitive with retailers with the same peer group to within 10%.
Based on the criteria, the peer group assignments for Colorado WIC-authorized retailers are currently as follows:
Peer Group 1:
Commissaries, Pharmacies and Supercenters (Major Ownership)
Peer Group 2:
Supermarkets (Major Ownership) and Supercenters (Minor Ownership)
Peer Group 3:
Supermarkets (Minor Ownership) and Small/ Medium Grocery (Metro)
Peer Group 4:
Small/ Medium Grocery (Rural)
Peer Group 5:
Peer Group 6:
Small/ Medium Grocery (Resort / Emerging Resort Areas)
Mead Johnson formula label and name changes
Mead Johnson has informed CO WIC of several upcoming changes to their formula items:
1. Label: The graphics on most of their formula products will be updated—with no change in UPC.
2. Name: They are removing the word “PREMIUM” so that Enfamil Premium Infant will be named Enfamil Infant—with no change in UPC. (See below to view the item.)
A couple of important points:
- Mead Johnson has reported that expected timing will place cans with the new labels on grocery shelves sometime this spring to early summer.
- To ease the transition--within the next few weeks CO WIC will start to list the item as Enfamil (Premium) Infant on WIC checks .
- In this way, the customer may purchase the item with either the old or the new name.
- After the stores across Colorado have had a chance to complete the transition, WIC will then list the new name—“Enfamil Infant”—on checks.
- Colorado WIC will include more details of the changes in the upcoming WIC’S WORLD newsletter.
- To avoid any confusion, please share this notice with store managers, cashiers and inventory staff.
12.9 oz powder
No Change in UPC
Unit UPC – 300871365421
Case UPC – 300871365025
WIC checks will show: Enfamil (Premium) Infant
For information and/or questions specific to Mead Johnson, please contact them directly.
Recap of 2014 WIC Policies
From: Colorado WIC, Benefit Delivery Unit
To: Authorized Retailers
cc/fyi: Local WIC Agencies, Various State WIC
A couple of WIC policies became effective January 1, 2014. Below is a recap of some of the main changes.
- Customer Signature at Check-out: Retailers are required to obtain the WIC customer's signature on the WIC check at the time of the WIC transaction and compare that signature with the WIC ID envelope. Please be sure to obtain the WIC customer's signature at the time of the WIC transaction. WIC will no longer offer assistance in asking the customer to return to the store to sign a WIC check that was not signed. WIC had allowed for a process for the store to contact the local agency and request the local agency to contact the WIC client, asking that they return to the store to sign the check. This option is no longer available. As always, retailers are not to contact clients directly about missing signatures. Checks rejected for missing the customer's signature cannot be negotiated or replaced.
- Integrity: The State WIC Agency identifies 'high risk' retailers at least annually. To identify retailers that are high risk, WIC reviews past history of WIC or SNAP violations and/or abuse, referrals from WIC participants, WIC clinic staff, citizen and retailer referrals. WIC also reviews the store's transactions to detect retailers that may be considered high-risk. Stores identified as high risk will be reviewed for a variety of follow-up activities including monitoring visits, compliance investigations, responding to findings with corrective action plans, and/or other types of training, store visits and contacts.
- Date and Location: Retailers must have a process to put both the date of the transaction and the location (i.e., store name and/or number) on the back of WIC checks. This information can be printed by the cash register system or written in by the cashier. Failure to put the date and location on a WIC check is a 4 point violation. (Retailers with a single Colorado WIC-authorized store--i.e., one store covered under the WIC Retailer Agreement-- are exempt from the requirement to enter the location.)
- Full-Service Grocers: In order to provide for greater access to nutritious food options for WIC families, grocery stores authorized to take Colorado WIC checks must be full-service grocer stores. They must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- The store is identified by SNAP with a Store Type as a Large Grocery Store, Medium Grocery Store, Military Commissary, Small Grocery Store, Supermarket, Super Store/ Chain Store.
- Annual food sales (i.e., food items eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits) are greater than or equal to 65 percent of total annual sales.
- Annual food sales exceed $1 million.
- Food Source: Retailers authorized to participate in the WIC Program shall purchase staple food items directly from a wholesaler supplier or other non-retail suppler, such as distributors, manufacturers, and/or fresh produce suppliers. Retailers will be required to produce purchase invoices upon request.
- No Discrimination: Provided clarification that any practice that singles out WIC customers, including offering or denying incentives solely to WIC customers is considered discrimination and is prohibited.
- Numbers of Items/ Minimum Quantity
- Vendors with five or fewer cash registers must stock a minimum of five items within each food category listed on the Stocking Requirements. For example, small vendors must stock at least five pounds of cheese, five boxes of cereal, etc.
- Vendors with six or more cash registers must stock a minimum of ten items within each food category. For example, larger stores must stock 10 pounds of cheese, 10 boxes of cereal, etc. (Variety requirements still apply.)
Details of these policies were sent a few months back with the renewal packets and are included in the 2014 WIC Retailer Handbook (Handbook
). (The Handbook
can be found at: www.coloradowic.com
, go to Retailers, Retailers Authorization.)
Please note: Store locations that are under a chain WIC Agreement will be sent their paper copies of the Handbook in the next several weeks. Other retailers have already received their copies of the Handbook with their renewal packet.)
We are excited to begin 2014 working with such wonderful retail partners. Thanks so much!